Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey

2015 Result:
Conservative: 3410 (5.9%)
Labour: 4311 (7.5%)
Lib Dem: 18029 (31.3%)
SNP: 28838 (50.1%)
Green: 1367 (2.4%)
UKIP: 1236 (2.1%)
Christian: 422 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 10809 (18.8%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat


Main population centres:



Current MP
DREW HENDRY (SNP) Highland councillor since 2007. First elected as MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 6278 (13%)
Lab: 10407 (22%)
LDem: 19172 (41%)
SNP: 8803 (19%)
Oth: 2426 (5%)
MAJ: 8765 (19%)
Con: 4579 (10%)
Lab: 13682 (31%)
LDem: 17830 (40%)
SNP: 5992 (14%)
Oth: 2172 (5%)
MAJ: 4148 (9%)
Con: 5653 (13%)
Lab: 15605 (37%)
LDem: 9420 (22%)
SNP: 10889 (26%)
Oth: 894 (2%)
MAJ: 4716 (11%)
Con: 8355 (17%)
Lab: 16187 (34%)
LDem: 8364 (18%)
SNP: 13848 (29%)
Oth: 1014 (2%)
MAJ: 2339 (5%)

2015 Candidates
EDWARD MOUNTAIN (Conservative) Farmer, surveyor and former serviceman. Contested Caithness Sutherland and Ross 2011 Scottish election.
MIKE ROBB (Labour) Contested Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey 2010.
DANNY ALEXANDER (Liberal Democrat) Born 1972, Edinburgh. Educated at Lochaber High School and Oxford University. Press officer. MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey 2005 to 2015. Chief of Staff to Nick Clegg 2008-2010, Secretary of State for Scotland 2010. Chief Secretary since 2010. A key figure in the coalition, Danny Alexander was a member of the Lib Dem negotiating team who agreed the coalition deal with the Conservatives, and since then has been a member of the "quad" - the group of four senior ministers (the others being Clegg, Cameron and Osborne) that negotiate disagreements between the coalition partners.
LES DURANCE (UKIP) Born Bishopton. Company director.
ISLA O`REILLY (Green) Educated at Inverness Royal Academy and Napier University. Pilates teacher.
DREW HENDRY (SNP) Highland councillor since 2007.
DONALD BOYD (Christian) Medical doctor and church minister. Contested Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey 2010.
Comments - 337 Responses on “Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey”
1 2 3 7
  1. DA’s high profile in a Conservative government will lose him votes beyond the average LibDem losses, but unless LAB or SNP do not contest the seat as a consequence of mismanagement or death, the fact that the lost votes will be split makes it a likely LibDem hold.

    Expect it to be a three way marginal next time and LibDems to lose on account of the verdict on the coalition.

  2. The Lib Dems could squeeze the sizable Tory vote who may see DA to keep Labour and the SNP out.

  3. Given that Alexander appears to the public to be a Tory in all but name, that is a fair assessment – I imagine that he would be a lot more successful in squeezing the Conservative vote than his neighbour Charles Kennedy.

  4. But a lot of Alexander’s vote was by no means right wing. Most people in this constituency vote anti-Tory – there’s a strong radical tradition for a rural seat.

    Question is will Labour or the SNP be the beneficiary? I would have thought that Alexander has not won himself many friends here

  5. Until the dust settles post referendum its difficult to predict most of the marginal Scottish seats.

    Will the SNP carry on as normal or will they implode with bitterness and in fighting?

    Where will disaffected Lib Dems go?

    Can Labour take advantage of this?

  6. Is this the hardest seat to call in the country? If alexander lost would he be the highest office holder to be defeated?

  7. Would it be too much to ask to suggest to the Scottish Boundary Commission that they revert to the simple “Inverness” as the name for this constituency. The majority of the electorate lives in the capital of the Highlands and its suburbs.

  8. Lib Dems will lose it. A fight between SNP and Labour, my fear is that it will be the SNP who take it not Labour.

  9. Would it be too much to ask to suggest to the Scottish Boundary Commission that they revert to the simple “Inverness” as the name for this constituency.

    The pre-1983 constituency was “Inverness-shire”.

    Inverness, however, would be more logical than Inverness-shire because much of the historical county has been moved into Ross, Skyle & Locharber.

    I agree that too many Scottish constituencies have unnecessarily long names.

  10. Wow, I’m in agreement with Bob

  11. there are too many scottish seats full stop

  12. Not sure whether we’ve ever discussed that issue on here.

  13. “there are too many scottish seats full stop”

    Some people in England regard 59 Scottish seats in the Westminster Parliament as too many.

    Some people in Scotland would regard 1 Scottish seat in the Westminster Parliament as 1 too many 🙂

  14. HH – yes the issue was touched on within the last few days. Not sure on which thread. And I distinctly remember putting my oar in on the subject not many weeks ago too.
    I’m sure that the seat was simply Inverness before 1983 even though it would at that time have included all of Inverness-shire.

  15. Yes, it was on the DCT thread. As I pointed out there, even after the reduction in Scottish seats from 72 to 59, ostensibly to compensate for the existence of the Scottish Parliament, Scotland is still over-represented at Westminster vis-a-vis England by 10%.

  16. I see my sarcasm fell on deaf ears Barnaby.

    I think we should quit this “Scotland has too many seats” debate until after the independence referendum, when the issue will either become more important or completely redundant.

  17. “Scotland is still over-represented at Westminster vis-a-vis England by 10%.”

    Is this the case even if you ignore the exceptional cases of the Highland and Island seats?

  18. “Is this the case even if you ignore the exceptional cases of the Highland and Island seats?”

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean – it is the figure for Scotland as a whole. “Exceptional cases”, whatever they may be in this context, are built into the calculation, meaning that grossly over-represented seats (e.g. Western Isles) make the average over-representation greater, and mildly over-represented seats make the average smaller. The point is that Scotland as a whole has too many seats – we don’t need so many.

  19. There are common sense reasons why geographical limits should be placed on Western Isles, Orkney & Shetland and the north highlands when drawing up constituencies, as the boundary commission has always recognised. If you disregard these 3 or 4 seats and average the rest the average constituency size will not be all that much less than England.

  20. I suspect the Lib Dems will hold on here. Danny’s constituency party has some pretty impressive on the ground organisation – as the local election and recent by-election results have shown.

    Still, it’s going to get ugly.

  21. The Western Isles constituency could be made larger by adding some other islands – but the latter might not be keen on past form.

  22. “There are common sense reasons why geographical limits should be placed on Western Isles, Orkney & Shetland and the north highlands when drawing up constituencies, as the boundary commission has always recognised. If you disregard these 3 or 4 seats and average the rest the average constituency size will not be all that much less than England.”

    Orkney & Shetland is protected as a single UK constituency as are Orkney and Shetland as two constituencies at Holyrood.

    I am not sure of what the situation is now but traditionally The Western Isles was not protected (though it may be now).

    It coveres the whole of the Outer Hebridies and this had not been a single local authority until the 1970’s. Prior to that the northern Outer Hebridies were part of Ross & Cromarty and the southern Outer Hebridies were part of Inverness-shire.

    The Inner Hebridies has a population of 16902 (Skye being the largest Island) and Buteshire (Bute, Arran, Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae) has a population of 13720.

    So if all the Scottish islands (not part of Orkney & Shetland) were to form a ‘Buteshire & Hebridies’ or ‘Hebridies & Bute’ constituency, it would have an electorate of some 42000 – 45000.

    It would still be an SNP/ Labour marginal (perahps safer for the SNP) with a much larger Conservative and Lib Dem vote.

  23. I dont really see the logic in protecting constituencies, even O + S.

    I dont think anybody would argue against remote or large seats having extra staff to combat these difficulties but dont understand why the voters should have a larger influence than those elsewhere.

  24. Orkney and Shetland do have a very specific history – it’s less obvious why the Western Isles deserve special treatment.

  25. I think Dalak has demonstrated my point better than I could.

    The fact that Scotland has more MP’s than it is strictly entitled to has got nothing to do with the devolution settlement and everything to do with how scarcely populated the far north of the country is .

    I think a Buteshire and the Hebrides constituency running from the edge of Glasgow to the Western Isles would be completely unpractical.

    To demonstrate this even further, I remember there being a Scottish Parliament working group a few years ago which looked into the possibility of introducing STV for Hollyrood elections, and even that recommended that the 3 island council areas should continue to be covered by single member constituencies electing their MSP using AV.

    It is an anomaly though that Orkney and Shetland have to share an MP at Westminster but each return their own MSP to Hollyrood. I’ve never been able to find out why that is the case.

    And in the context of this discussion it also worth noting that there is a serious debate going on as a side issue in the independence debate about the possibility of the island council areas becoming autonomous regions within an independent Scotland. This highlights the point that these ares don’t just feel geographically, culturally and politically isolated from London, but from Edinburgh as well.

  26. It’s also interesting to note that in the post-war period, Orkney and Shetland I don’t think has actually had one MP who came from either island.

    And yes from a historical context it is obvious as to why for Westminster purposes they remain together as one constituency. To break that tradition now would be a little too late I would have thought.

    Obviously both islands have their many differences but I think that given the collective strength for the Liberal Democrats having one safe seat for them can’t be any real bad thing from their point of view.

  27. Russell Johnston’s electoral record in Inverness and Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber-
    1964- 14, 235 (39.83%, +6.96%, 2, 136 (5.98%) majority)
    1966- 14, 356 (39.45%, -0.38%, 2, 395 (6.58%) majority)
    1970- 15, 052 (38.35%, -1.10%, 2, 674 (6.81%) majority)
    February 1974- 16, 903 (38.72%, +0.37%, 5, 223 (11.96%) majority)
    October 1974- 13, 128 (32.39%, -6.33%, 1, 134 (2.80%) majority)
    1979- 15, 716 (33.74%, +1.35%, 4, 157 (8.93%) majority)
    1983- 20, 671 (46.0%, +12.26%, 7, 298 (16.3%) majority)
    1987- 17, 422 (36.8%, -9.2%, 5, 431 (11.5%) majority)
    1992- 13, 258 (26.0%, -10.8%, 458 (0.9%) majority)

  28. Adam – I think Orkney and Shetland are separated for Holyrood just to make up a round number of seats!

  29. A closer look at the result here in February 1974-
    Johnston (Liberal)- 16, 903 (38.72%, +0.37%)
    Henderson (Conservative)- 11, 680 (26.75%, -4.79%)
    Cameron (Labour)- 7, 816 (17.90%, -5.13%)
    Gibson (SNP)- 7, 258 (16.63%, +9.54%)

    Majority- 5, 223 (11.96%)
    Swing- +2.58% From Con to Lib.

  30. Did Russell Johnston have a sizeable personal vote here, as it wouldn’t particularly surprise me given this is in the Highlands?

  31. I think his majorities moved around quite a lot like David Steel’s.

    1983 was a good result – and 1979 may well have seen a rise against the overall trend,
    but 1992 wasn’t good.

  32. The result here in 1992 was extraordinary.

    It turned into a four way marginal, and this was probably caused by the fact that the SNP came from nowhere to very nearly take the seat, although they finished third and Labour came the closest. I wonder if the declaration was televised, as Russell Johnston’s face must have been a picture!

  33. these far flung seats don’t always correspond to much overall trend.

  34. There was a gentleman called John Bannerman who stood at a by-election here in 1954- he previously stood in 1950, and contested the seat again in 1955 and 1959. He was the father of the late great Liberal Democrat MP for Argyll and Bute from 1987 to 2001 Ray Michie.

  35. He was fairly close to winning Paisley in a by-election in 1962.

  36. John Bannerman might well have revived the Liberals in Inverness and probably helped pave the way for Russell Johnston’s first victory in 1964.

    Before the by-election here in 1954, the Liberals hadn’t got close to winning the seat in the post-war period so it took them a long time to challenge again in a seat that they held for a long time before the Second World War. Johnston’s personality I would guess also helped in a Highlands seat known for its preference for electing individuals as opposed to parties.

  37. Danny Alexander will lose in 2015 but only by 1000 or so.

    SNP 30
    LD 28
    Lab 23
    Con 13

  38. SNP: 29%
    LD: 27%
    LAB: 26%
    CON: 10%
    UKIP: 5%
    OTH: 4%

  39. Since voters in this part of the World tend to vote on personalities rather than down political lines, I wonder if Danny Alexander’s profile in the Coalition Gov. will actually HELP him than hinder him here?

  40. Danny will hold this one, his national profile in such an isolated area will pull him through. Deserves it he comes over as a thouroughly nice man.

  41. Mike Robb has been selected as the Labour candidate here.


    Lord Oakeshott’s passing shot is to publish an ICM poll of this seat. Danny Alexander in third place on 16% behind Labour on 25% and SNP on 32% (turnout weighted and excluding don’t know/won’t vote).

    The Lib Dems are sleepwaking into political oblivion. Clegg, Alexander and possibly Cable all losing their seats would be a fatal blow. They need to wake up, dump Clegg, leave and the Coalition and provide supply and confidence votes to a minority Tory Government until the General Election. This would allow them to vote against measures they don’t support thereby providing differentiation. Otherwise they’re all doomed!!!

  43. Well, are they? There has been nothing before to suggest that Clegg would lose his seat & I seriously doubt the accuracy of the poll. And does anyone seriously think Cable is in danger? Sure the Tories outpolled the LDs in both Twickenham & Kingston/Surbiton last week, but very few people indeed think that either Cable or Davey is likely to lose.

  44. These polls seem to suggest that the Lib Dems might be in a much worse situation than we previously thought, and that the fortress strategy can only work so far.

    I’ve always been doubtful that they’d hold 45+ seats as some seem to think but I would have guessed at least 30. Even that’s becoming questionable.

  45. @ Barnaby

    The poll for Clegg’s seat was also conducted by ICM. Do you think they would put out a crap poll? Why would you question the accuracy? ICM conducted a poll in Sheffield Hallam on voting intentions in the council elections that accurately predicted the Lib Dems would do better than the GE poll suggests. This suggests to me that people would vote differently in a Council election than a GE in Sheffield Hallam. See here:

    Also I never said Cable would lose only that it was possible.

    My analysis is based on results of polls from ICM. What are you basing your analysis on?

  46. Well see my comments re Twickenham. Those figures just aren’t credible – how would or could Labour be only 8% behind the Tories & 6% behind the LDs in Twickenham in a general election? If subsequent polls show a similar picture, then fair enough, I will start to show a bit more credence, but I simply cannot see how these figures can be accurate even given the generally fairly good track record of ICM. I have always criticised those who refuse to believe opinion polls in general, but we know that polls sometimes produce inaccurate results for a number of reasons. Some of these ICM ones may be correct but I think other contributors will forgive me my scepticism about some of them including those in Sheffield Hallam & Twickenham. The Cambridge one looks plausible enough though.

  47. I’d like to apologise for my post in advance for being ON-TOPIC 🙂

    I find it hard to believe that the LD’s will finish 3rd here. After all the did finish 2nd in the Euro elections for The Highland Council area.

  48. The numbers polled are simply too low. Very poor quality data.

  49. and taken over too long a fieldwork period too.

  50. There is a long history of appallingly bad constituency polls, resulting from the difficulty and expense of getting an adequate sample size across such a small area.

    I recall one particularly crappy poll not long before the 1997 election suggesting Malcolm Rifkind was going to get something like 5% of the vote and come 4th.

    With the recent LD constituency polling do also keep in mind the agenda of those who commissioned it and leaked the “results”.

    There is not a snowball in hell’s chance of Clegg losing his seat.

1 2 3 7
Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)